WJBF – Actress Anissa Marie Bass, who is also a licensed nurse, has added author to her resume as she has penned her first book, 44 Life Lessons of Hurt, Love, and Triumph. Now, after the loss of her husband, Anthony, Bass has become a strong advocate for stomach cancer research as she honors his life.

Thank you so much for joining us. Let’s get into your book, 44 Life Lessons of Hurt, Love, and Triumph. What inspired you to write this book?

Well, I wrote this book right after the pandemic. This book was actually written for my daughters. I wrote it as a mantra for life lessons trying to teach about the things that I’ve gotten over. Then, I realized that my calling was a lot more. I needed to speak to every woman, boy, girl, and child about life lessons of hurt, love, and triumph. So, these lessons resonate with me because they helped me to understand life at different stages. I wrote this book so that I can reach whoever needed help with self-improvement, self-love, accountability, and even setting boundaries in your life. So, that was the reason for the book.

Is there a specific reason why you chose the number 44?

There is a specific reason. I kept waking up at 4:44 in the morning, and I was noticing that I was seeing a lot of different numbers. So, I said, “You know what, God? Let me look this up.” When I looked it up, it said that the divine was around me or near me giving me creative ideas. I thought that spoke to my heart to start writing. So, I started writing my book shortly before my husband [Anthony Bass] was sick and diagnosed with stomach cancer. So, we had to postpone the publication of the book. The book was actually published December 3rd, 2022. So, that has been the reason for the number.

What has been the response from the book?

Oh, it’s been great. I’ve had people reach out to me to say that these lessons resonate with them and that they identify with themselves so much in this book. There’s a lesson in here that says, I Am Enough, and that’s speaking to any person who has self-doubt or think that they’re not enough in any relationship. So, a lot of people have been very receptive. I think I have five stars on Amazon right now!

Where can people go if they want to get a copy of the book?

They can actually go to Amazon, Barnes And Noble, Target, Walmart, and Kindle, and I’m also getting ready to record on Audible. So, they’ll be able to get it on Audible as well.

Well, not only are you an author, you are also a licensed nurse, and you are doing some advocacy work with stomach cancer research. Can you tell us about it?

Back in September [of 2022], after my husband’s passing – he passed August 10th, 2022 from stage 4 Gastric Adenocarcinoma – I was contacted by some people from Chapel Hill [North Carolina], and they had us to come out and talk about stomach cancer awareness. They had us to tell my husband’s story. Then, we were invited to Capitol Hill this past March. We went to advocate for stomach cancer awareness and to raise money to lobby for funding to keep stomach cancer on the bill so that other people can get the essential health, medicine, and even treatment that they need. Now, I’m being asked to be a chair board member for “Hope For Stomach Cancer.” I was able to meet widows. I was able to meet other cancer survivors. My children were able to come and meet different people. It was really beneficial for us to see stomach cancer up front and personal.

Why is this important for us to know?

This is really important because as I’ve learned stomach cancer is the third leading cause of cancers in Black, African-American men, and a lot of men don’t know that. There is a special tool called the endoscope that they use to go down your throat to check to see if you have any growths [of tumors] or polyps.  Actually, health officials are getting ready to pass a bill that says that doctors have to have preauthorization before they can even give this procedure to anyone. So, I will be lobbying against that because that will prolong symptoms, prolong diagnosis, and probably hasten someone to pass without being diagnosed properly. So, it’s important for me to talk about stomach cancer, to share my husband’s story, to tell everybody that has symptoms of indigestion, heartburn, gastric reflux, and even changes in their stool to go get a second opinion because there are no warning signs and unfortunately, there is no cure for this stomach cancer… as of yet.

Now, you have started a foundation in honor of your husband, the Anthony L. Bass Stomach Cancer Foundation. Can you tell us about that?

That was actually started because I wanted to give my husband a name; I wanted to speak for him since he’s no longer here. I wanted to be able to families for support and offer guidance and information because if I wasn’t a nurse, I wouldn’t have understood anything that we were dealing with. Anything that was happening, I would’ve been totally lost. So, I want to be able to use my voice and use my platform to speak to families that are getting diagnosed about new diagnosis treatment options. Also, to be able to have a voice in the community for cancer research and prevention. It’s also important for my children to see that his life and his legacy mattered.